Saturday, June 23, 2012

Poached Pear

So I had a food geek moment. I was going to make myself a salad to have with some of my duck prosciutto, but then I got this idea, the prosciutto would probably go really nice with pear, walnuts and cheese, a good classic combination. It got worse, maybe I wanted a cooked texture to the pear, I could poach it, add another flavour to it, heck, I know, I could totally sous vide that pear! Somehow I didn’t really manage to get the brake on that idea before it came out. Research had started, and it seemed reasonably easy, 2–3 hours at 75ºC, and I’d have a poached pear, easy enough, just keep an eye on a pot of hot water for 3 hours, I had nothing better to do, total food geek brain take over, sanity had left the building.

I don’t do it on purpose, sitting around racking my brain trying to come up with something convoluted and drawn out, my inner food geek is just waiting for the smallest opportunity to escape, much like with the 3 day wait for the pork cheek confit, or making dosa, I had the idea to make the dish, I just had no idea it would take 3 days, and to smaller extents pork hock cake, kai kem eggs or kimchi. It’s usually a passing thought or idea, and the next thing I know I’ve started making something that may take 3 days before I get to eat, or in this case set myself up to babysit a pot of hot water for 3 hours carefully nursing the temperature.

But I’m not complaining, I relish in it, spending hours in the kitchen, waiting and hoping the dish will turn out, that what started out as an idea will be edible and tasty, and that the sacrifice of time and effort will be worth it, and I’ll tell you, the results don’t always match the effort. But if I were to be disheartened after every failure, I doubt I’d ever set foot in a kitchen again, failure is an opportunity to learn from what went wrong, correct and improve on ideas. In saying all of that, the pears turned out great.

Success is relative. It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things - T. S. Eliot.

100 grams Butter (unsalted)
50 ml Brandy
2 pears

  • Emulsify the brandy and butter together, use a food processor or stick blender.
  • Peel the pears, and place in separate vacuum bags with half the butter mix in each, then seal. You could use a zip lock bag, and remove as much air as possible if you don’t have a vacuum sealer.

  • Bring a large pot of water to 75ºC.
  • Place bags in the pot and cook for 2–3 hours at 75ºC.
  • Keep the flame on minimum and adjust as needed.
  • If not serving immediately, transfer the bags to an ice bath to halt the cooking, and reheat in hot water when ready.

Visa Wellington on a Plate is just around the corner and I had the privilege of being able to attend the launch event. It was great to finally meet some fellow bloggers and tweeters, and people from the industry, eat some great food thanks to Ruth Pretty, and down a few good wines. But like all things, nothing good comes for free, and putting aside my absolute terror of public speaking, I’m on stage doing a Peecha Kucha presentation at the City Market event. Which I hope, should be entertaining, if not just for the fact that I tend to talk in half formed thoughts and leave whole ideas in my head and stumble out words in random order from my mouth.